Rachel McGuinness

So, I crawled out of my bed thinking, right, I've got a meeting to go to and on my way to the bathroom, I caught my reflection in the mirror.

And I call it my OMGWTF moment because I kind of looked at myself and I thought, Oh my God, you just look awful. I just looked a mess. And I was overweight.

 

I thought, you know what? You can't carry on doing this. You're 37 and in three years' time, you're going to be 40. So, do you want to be fit and 40 or do you want to be fat and 40?

Rachel McGuinness

 

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Our 78th episode is with Rachel McGuinness.

 

Theme: Inspiring people to get healthy and change their lives.

We talk about: 

👟 Her OMGWTF moment in a hotel room in Barcelona.

👟 How we should get all the facts and just JFDI.

👟 And what she would do if appointed health minister.

 

Bio

Rachel is a workplace wellbeing expert. Up until 2004 she worked in marketing and events in the telecoms industry. Since then she’s been helping business people to get healthy and reclaim their energy, so they can get back on their game in a more sustainable way.

In the year 2000 she realised that her busy corporate life had caused her to become so unhealthy that she was heading for burnout and some serious health issues. She decided to completely change how she lived her life. She got into a proper sleep routine, adopted a cleaner approach to eating, got a handle on her stress levels and added regular exercise to her daily habits. Now she is just over 44lbs lighter and four dress sizes smaller.

She is trained in cognitive behaviour therapy for insomnia, mental health first aid, nutrition, personal fitness training, stress management, neuro linguistic programming and hypnotherapy. Rachel works all over the UK and Europe, working with forward thinking businesses in the technology, health and travel sectors who understand the benefits of looking after the mental and physical wellbeing of their employees.

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James:

Now Rachel, did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?

 

Rachel:

No, is a very simple, short answer. I think initially I wanted to do something with languages because I love languages and I was pretty good at them. And then just when I was thinking about making my career choices, there was a recession in the late seventies (because I am that old). And I remember going into the careers office and saying, well, I want to do French and German. And they were going, well, really the only option for you is to teach. Although I don't want to teach. So I thought, okay, what can I do? What do I like doing that would let me sort of have a career abroad? So I thought, okay, I could do something with cooking. So, I ended up actually going to catering college and getting a qualification in hospitality management, and then going abroad to work.

And then I had an idea that I wanted to go and work for the foreign office and I applied, and they just took ages to reply. And during that time, I ended up working in Switzerland and Israel, and then I decided that I wanted to go work for an airline so I could just travel around the world free of charge. So I applied to British Airways, but they rejected me so I ended up working for the Scandinavian Airlines at their flight kitchen at Heathrow. But I've kind of always been interested in sort of doing things with say hospitality or events.

So, I spent a long time in event management and then got very burnt out, practically destroyed my health. I was on a real sort of downward spiral with my eating. I'd always had problems with eating too much as a child going into adulthood, but was always on a diet. I was on a diet for 22 years that never worked. And made me four times bigger than I am now, or four dress sizes bigger than I am now. I didn't sleep properly. I used to smoke about 20 to 40 cigarettes a day. And I was drinking probably a bottle of wine a night at the height of my unhealthiness. Yeah. So event management for me, wasn't a particularly healthy career.

James:

Do those sorts of habits go with that sort of profession because you're very busy, it can be long days, so you need something that's giving you that jolt through the day. It's cigarette breaks, it's lots of coffee, sugary snacks.

Rachel:

Oh yeah. I was wired on caffeine and nicotine. And I remember I was working on a job in Amsterdam and I was standing on top of the world trade center there and I was having my fix of caffeine and nicotine, having my cigarette break. And I remember my eyeballs were literally vibrating in their sockets, as there was so much caffeine and nicotine in my system. And I thought, Oh, this isn't good because Dutch coffee is really, really strong, but it was the nature of the job. I was really well organised actually when I was doing my events, but it did mean some late nights, but that was mostly sort of with clients. Client entertaining, so I was out for meals and you've been drinking far too much wine, eating far too much food, going to bed late and then having to get up the next morning.

 

So, yeah, so it did take a toll and also doing food tastings as well. And I was kind of one of these people that can't say no to food. So any food that needed to be tasted, I was there and then staying away from home a lot. So you're traveling. So, you're in different time zones and then you're at the mercy of hotel food. And I was a bit like a PacMan at a hotel buffet, breakfast buffets, especially in somewhere like Germany or Scandinavia, where they've got all the different types of bread or the different types of salamis and meats and cheeses. So I'd just like work my way through. There was no off button with me. So yeah, no sleep, too much food, too many cigarettes and lots of alcohol.

James:

Is that something you are kind of conscious about during the time, or does this lead up to an event which is, ah, here's a turning point?

Rachel:

Uh, yes, it did lead up to an epiphany moment, which is what I like to call it. I probably spent 22 years of my life being very unhealthy. Exercise is one of those things that I hated at school. I was traumatised at school by PE. Hated hockey, where you get bashed around the shins and you're standing on a freezing cold hockey pitch on the edge of Dartmoor in the pouring rain and the things I was good at, the PE teachers just didn't really sort of nurture me. So I left school thinking I really don't want to do any kind of sport. Oh yeah. Sports day was another thing. Cause I was probably a little bit sort of shapely and slightly dumpy as a child. They always used to make me throw the shot put and discus.

Michelle:

Me too!

Rachel:

Because I'm far too short to negotiate hurdles. I just knock them over. High Jump just don't even go there. I'd just end up in a pit of sand and long jump, no way. Yeah. I just thought I really don't like this fitness lark. So I spent 22 years of my life not really doing very much except walking. I maybe had a slight dalliance with a gym very occasionally, but it didn't last very long. Maybe did the free trial at the local gym and thought no I don't like this. So, what happened to me was in the year 2000 at the age of 37, I woke up one particular morning, in Barcelona in my hotel room. I was there for a site visit. Been out the night before with clients. I felt horrible when I woke up in the morning. We'd eaten far too many tapas. I'd been knocking back far too much Rioja and smoking too many Ducados Spanish cigarettes, had a bit of a raspy old voice there. So I crawled out of my bed thinking, right, I've got a meeting to go to and on my way to the bathroom, I caught my reflection in the mirror.

And I call it my OMGWTF moment because I kind of looked at myself and I thought, Oh my God, you just look awful. Skin was pale and spotty, dark shadows under my eyes. I just looked a mess. And I was overweight. I thought, you know what? You can't carry on doing this. You're 37 and in three years' time, you're going to be 40. So do you want to be fit and 40 or do you want to be fat and 40? So I kind of gave myself a bit of a talking to because I sort of probably reached the depths of the lowest of the low that I could get. And also, I was thinking about the health of my family. My mum had had a heart attack at the age of 65 and then been diagnosed with a form of leukaemia. My dad was on blood pressure tablets. And so was my brother. And on my dad's side of the family, there was a sort of a bias towards obesity and I could put on weight quite fast and I could lose it quite fast, but it was that whole maintaining it.

So, I thought, right, okay, I really need to get my act together. I thought, okay, when I get home, things are going to change. So when I got back from my trip, I stopped dieting because I've been on every diet for 22 years. It just didn't work...like eating cabbage soup or hard boiled eggs or Weight Watchers, actually Weight Watchers made me quite fat because I got a Twix addiction from that. As I discovered I could eat chocolate and I didn't normally eat chocolate. I thought, okay, let's just do healthy eating. And I had this book for a long time. It was called the detox diet, but it wasn't really about the detoxing that we know nowadays. It was just about eating really good, healthy food. And you just followed it for 30 days. So I thought, okay, 30 days out of my life, you know, that's it. And then I thought, okay, my then husband was a chef and he got a job as a chef, just by sheer fluke at a local posh gym, which meant that I could have like a really cheap membership. I thought, okay, I'll join the gym. But what I'll do is I'll get a personal trainer because I have no clue whatsoever about how to operate any of the equipment. And I did prove that I was a bit of a danger to myself and others cause I did that Bridget Jones thing, where you're on a treadmill, you put it on too fast and you fly off the end! So, I thought, okay, I need to get a personal trainer to sort of just show me what exactly what I have to do for a few weeks.

What else did I do? Oh, I gave up the cigarettes. I just managed to give up just like that. I had numerous attempts before and this time it was like, okay, you need to really knock it on the head now you're nearly 40. Cut down on the drink as well. So my bottle of Chardonnay, which was what I was drinking in the 1990s, had to go. So it was like really reduce the alcohol intake and only drink at weekends and in moderation. So what I found was after about six weeks, I began to look and feel so much better. I could see my shape changing. I had loads more energy. I was sleeping better and where I was working quite long hours at work, suddenly I made time for myself to go to the gym. It was almost like I gave myself permission. So I ended up actually working more productively, more effectively. And also I was getting much better sleep. I thought, great. You know, after six weeks I really can see a difference. So I just carried on with this health lark and that was it really. That was my epiphany moment or epiphany moment number one, because there's an epiphany moment number two.

Michelle:

Tell us about that one!

Rachel:

So, people had really noticed that I really changed. That I was looking a lot healthier, looking a lot slimmer and what I found with work colleagues and friends they're going, oh gosh, how did you do it? Or, what kind of fitness are you doing? Can you give me some advice on losing weight? All sorts of things like this. And I was having a conversation with my massage therapist who had actually kind of nudged me maybe into getting fitter. So maybe planted a seed in the back of my brain before I had my epiphany moment in Barcelona.

 

So anyway, I was, I was seeing her and she said, Oh, you're looking great at the moment. You know, fantastic, you've got fitter and you're eating healthily. And I said, yeah, I said, you know, everybody's asking me all these questions. I said, the amount of advice I give to people. I might as well get paid for it. She goes, well why don't you? I said, what do you mean? She said, well, why don't you become a personal trainer? I said, you've got to be joking. I hate fitness. Even now. And she goes, no, you'd be great for people who are exactly like you were. So you'd be like really motivational, a great role model for them. And she said you love cooking, you love food. So maybe do something on the nutrition side of things and maybe do something with coaching.

And I said, I think you have a point there. And so I thought, okay, so I went home and I started to look up courses. And I was thinking, I think this stuff really appeals to me. Within a couple of weeks, I'd found three courses that I wanted to do, and I could still carry on doing my full time job in event management. And so there was a personal training course, a nutrition course, which was then linked to personal training. And also coaching. And during my holidays at work, I was doing all these courses. So I was taking time off and having to lie about what I was doing. Cause I didn't want to tell anybody until I'd actually done it all. So I didn't want to tell them about spending sort of two blocks of two weeks plus other sort of snippets of time doing personal training. Cause you know, they would've thought, what's she doing that for? The coaching was at weekends. So it was great. So it was completely undetected, under the radar doing all this stuff in the background and nobody knew. So that was kind of between February to December in the year 2000. And in the January of 2001, I thought, okay, right. It's now time to jack my job in.

So, I went and handed in my notice and then went, Oh, so what you're doing, starting up your own events company or event management company? I said, no, starting up my own health business. Oh, what being a beautician? And I said, no, I'm actually a qualified personal trainer, a nutritional advisor and a qualified coach. But when did you do all that? During the holidays! But you can't have? I did! So, I said goodbye to my corporate career where I was traveling around Europe and maybe going to the States a few times and started my own business. I had a goal to get 10 personal training clients on board by September. So I gave myself nine months to do it and it's great. I did it. And I loved doing it. So I've been in business now for 16 years. So yeah. And loved every minute of it. It's all changed over the years, but it's been great.

James:

That's wonderful isn't it?

Michelle:

Brilliant. So going back to those really early days, How did you just start? You're clearly somebody that makes a decision and just gets it done. It's like, I've decided now that I'm going to change my life and you do it. And then I've decided now that I'm going to make money from all of the advice I've given to people and then you just do it. So, what do you think was in you to achieve that goal as well?

Rachel:

Yeah, it's quite funny, cause I see a lot of my dad in me and I've kind of observed what he's like and he will make a decision and it's like, okay, I've made that decision. I'm just going to do it. And that is exactly the same with me that I'll get all the facts and there's no messing around and it's just JFDI. So, I'm quite happy with that and then running with that. Having done the personal fitness training course, they gave you advice on how to market yourself. But fortunately, because I'd been in events, I'd come from a marketing background. So that really held me in great stead for sort of starting my business. So, whereas a lot of all the other people on my fitness course or personal training course were sports people, they'd been like the champion, the County champion of netball or athletics or something like that, but they had no business acumen.

 

So with me, I wasn't the fittest on the course, but I knew how to market myself. So for me to build my own website, and get some leaflets out there because it was pre social media. I would say pre-internet but there was no Facebook. I think LinkedIn may have been around, but people didn't use LinkedIn in those days. There was no Twitter or anything like that. So you really have to promote yourself through various organisations. There's an organisation that promotes personal trainers. It's like a custom personal trainers directory. So I was on that and that's how people found me, you know, just Google personal trainers and this organisation comes up and then just putting ads in the local paper. And I was actually ahead of the curve with outdoor workouts. I'd seen somebody in London doing them. And I think she's probably one of the first ones. So I was doing them in my local town in Berkshire. So I was doing those. And then I qualified as a Pilates teacher. So I was advertising in the local village hall, but it was great. So I had a good network of clients and it was fantastic.

So I was always busy and I appealed to a certain type of person. So somebody who was in corporate, who had gone through exactly the same things that I'd gone through, and travelled a lot, or maybe didn't have time to look after themselves. And they needed to be told how to be healthy. You know, most of it's just common sense, but sometimes we need to be told. So, what kind of foods to eat, what kind of exercise to do and lots of other health tips. But one thing I did find actually on the eating side of things was that sometimes you could tell people what to do, but they wouldn't do it. So that's when I got into doing neuro linguistic programming. So, I became a master practitioner in that. And so that was great because I was able to sort of, I was going to say mess with their minds a little bit, but it was just sort of me framing things. I call it fast track psychology for self improvement. But, it was just kind of getting into their psyche a bit and finding out what were the blocks, what was stopping them from eating a healthy diet or wanting to lose weight. So that really helped me a lot with my success rate.

Michelle:

Hmm.

Rachel:

And also motivating people to do fitness when I wasn't there. So, if I only saw them like once a week and they said, okay, yeah, I'll do two or three workouts this week. And then you've discovered they hadn't done them. Then it's like, well, what's stopping you? So, we had to kind of work on the psyche a little bit.

Michelle:

Yeah. It's interesting that people, we know what we need to do. We know how to eat a healthy diet, we know that we need to exercise, and that we need to go to bed and sleep properly. It's almost bonkers that we don't. So what's the kind of typical blocks that people have?

Rachel:

I think some of it is when they change routine. So things like changing a job, change of circumstances, moving house, maybe coming back from a holiday, changing relationship status, you know, it's that whole, all those different things that kind of just knock you out a little bit and knock you out of what your routine is. So I think, the whole thing about keeping fit and healthy is having structure to your day. And maybe it is doing things at the same time every day. So I'm rubbish at exercising in the evening, except if I go out for a walk. So I have to get my exercise done first thing in the morning or else I won't do it. Even though I'm a qualified personal fitness trainer and Pilates teacher, I want to get my fitness over and done with. And, then planning your meals and thinking about what you want to cook and what you want to eat and what you want to cook over the following week and just allowing yourself to have treats that weekend. So I'm all for treats. I love food. I love cooking as I've mentioned before, but I can't eat treats all the time. So it's like, well, those are just reserved for weekends.

So I've managed to kind of get that psychology around food that I can have what I want, but I can't have it all the time. So, I think some of it comes down to organisation and having some structure as to what you're going to do when. So, having said that I go through periods of doing meditation and I know it's so good for me, but I was thinking well, the pandemic's been pretty stressful. I need to do my meditation, but I haven't done it. It's one of those things that is 10 minutes. I should make sure I fit it in, but at least I'm fitting in my fitness and I'm doing my 10,000 steps a day. I'm eating a healthy diet and I'm making sure I go to bed on time. So, I'm getting my eight hours or creating an eight hour window for my sleep and making sure I'm getting enough, good quality sleep. So sometimes you can't do everything. So it's just one of those things that it will come back, but I'm not going to beat myself up about it.

James:

It makes a lot of sense that your routine changes and then I think as well, sometimes even small things we can see, it's like a weight creep over a number of years. It's almost not, it's not something that you instantly see. So you perhaps almost don't perceive it until like your epiphany moment. You know, the joke is like, you get invited to a black tie event as a guy. And then it's like, oh my god, the dry cleaner's shrunk my trousers, or maybe it's cause I put 10 kilos on. And it's so easy to sort of increase calorie intake over a period of time and not notice and pick up bad habits. Cause as much as we say, a good habit can be instilled over, depending who you read, 21 days, or how many days people say it is, you can quite easily go the other way, six months of doing the right thing. And then one thing changes and then it's blown.

Michelle:

I think the pandemic...I'm a very emotional eater. So if I'm happy I eat, I feel sad I eat. It's clearly some issues that I should get seen to at some point. It's on my list. But I think the first sort of four or five weeks of this, we were literally like flipping squirrels. Get as much cheese puffs into our faces and chocolate as possible.

Rachel:

Because you may not be able to get it! I was like that with the pork pies! Yeah. We had two weeks of it. But yes. But I think, now things are calmed down again. We can still get, well, sometimes vegetables are bit hit and miss, but most things we can get. It's become easier to eat healthily again. But, it is these things that just throw you out, you know? Cause we thought there may be shortages of things. So we've got to make sure we've got all our treats in there because we don't want to go without our treats. And then you eat them all up thinking, okay. I need to get them again for like another three, four months. Or years. I'll never taste chocolate ever again. I have heard a lot of people have been treating the pandemic like Christmas, but I can't remember how many weeks we've been in lockdown now....nine....

Michelle:

Forever!

Rachel:

It's sort of almost becoming like a three month Christmas.

Michelle:

James's friend's got a good name for the weight we've put on during the pandemic.

James:

Oh yeah. My friend Nyime, where she talks about the quarantine 15, whether it's kilos or pounds we've all put on.

Michelle:

Or stone!

Rachel:

I like that. I might use that. So yeah. I mean, fortunately now the weather's getting better. It's easier to keep fitter, but it is just being mindful about how much you are eating and how it affects you. And you know, whereas a lot of us are doing zoom calls and no one knows what's on the bottom half, so it could be my stretchy elasticated trousers.

Michelle:

The comfy ones, like pyjama bottoms!

Rachel:

Exactly, they look alright on the top. I think it is that whole thing of just checking in, and being accountable actually. So one of the things that I do do is I write a journal every night, part of it is a gratitude journal. So three things that I'm grateful for that have happened during the day, because I will have sort of shrunk a little bit. And I think it's a really healthy thing to go to sleep on a positive note and doing that. And then, I'll write how many steps I've done, cause I've got a Fitbit and we're doing a Fitbit challenge or sort of doing a walking challenge at the moment to do 300,000 steps during the month of May. So I'm on target with that and I'll write a food diary as well and also keep track of how much water I'm drinking. So it's just keeping me focused on what I'm eating during the day. So Monday to Friday, Monday breakfast to Friday lunchtime, I sort of keep on it. Friday evening through to Sunday evening, I relax the rules and enjoy. So, those are my little ways that I get through and become accountable. And if I've been eating or snacking in between meals, I know it's not good for me cause I'll feel it if I eat too much bread, I'll feel it. So I'm just having to be really careful and monitor what I'm doing.

Michelle:

Yeah, that's great. So you work a lot with organisations now, don't you? How, how do you help organisations?

Rachel:

So I'm working with what I call forward thinking organisations, the ones that recognise that having happier and healthier employees, means they are going to be more productive and engaged at work. So pre pandemic, I was doing a lot of face to face work, so I'd go and do talks and workshops on sleep, healthy eating, fitness, resilience, mental health, and then I'll do consultations with the staff. So we'll do health consultations or sleep consultations. So if there were health consultations, you have the option of going on my metabolic scales that came out with a whole load of different stats, which is what it's doing: weight, they told you your fat percentage, how much your muscle weighed. So we could sort of see if they had enough muscle in their body, or healthy ratio of muscle in their body, their bone density, metabolic age, visceral fat, and yeah, I think that's it. So visceral fat and metabolic age is what people want to find out about. So visceral fat is the fat on the inside, that surrounds your organs. So if that's above a reading of 12, it just means that you're at a higher risk of type two diabetes, some forms of cancer and heart disease. And then metabolic age is your age on the inside. And people want to know how old they are on the inside. And then what we'll do is we'll sort of discuss all the metrics and how they can improve them.

So, that was the majority of my work, pre pandemic, but I'd had the foresight in January to think, okay, I need to put more resources online and to create an online wellbeing hub and create it initially for small businesses that don't have wellbeing programmes within their organisation. And I think, a lot of the smaller businesses were cottoning onto the fact that actually mental health in the workplace is really important and looking after the mental health of their stuff. So you'd get companies that would sort of start and stop things. Maybe they'll pick up on something that was happening during a summer month, like this month is national walking month. So quite a few people are doing this sort of 300,000 steps for the month, but then the person who's organising it will get busy or they leave, and then nothing would happen or they'd have a wellbeing day or they do Movember. So it was all a bit hit and miss.

So what I wanted to do was to create a sort of done for you service that people could just sign up for monthly and there'll be different content each month. So I sort of thought about this in January and I started talking to a few people and they're going, yeah, yeah, this sounds really interesting. And I was going to launch it on the 1st of April anyway, and that did happen, but I had people literally go, I want to see your hub. Is it ready yet? I started that thinking, no one's going to want this now, but people do. And it's great because a lot of the smaller organisations, so I say between 10 to 50 people, they have access to monthly content. If they don't have a mental health first aider within the organisation, I can actually still do that for them because all the resources are on this hub. So it's been great. And it's given me lots of flexibility to do collaborative work with all sorts of different people as well. So for example, we were sitting out on our balcony of our flat and socially distancing from the neighbours that we hadn't met. And it turns out that he's a personal trainer and she's a chiropractor. Thinking of the pandemic, there's no work and he's taken all his business online and she's been doing all sorts of things that people can do too. If they've had back problems or shoulder problems during the pandemic with all sorts of stretches. So I'm working with them to say, just give me content.

So it's just great that I've just created this project, if you like, and people are signing up for it. And so it's great. I really, really love doing that. And then something else I became involved with that was a chance meeting of somebody. And she said, Oh, you know, how long have you been in health? And I said, Oh, about 16 years now, you know, what did you do before then? I said, I used to work in event management. She says, ooh I need to introduce you to my friend Helen. And she runs an organisation called Eventwell. And it's the voice of mental health and wellbeing for the events industry. I went, Oh, okay. So I ended up talking to this woman on a zoom call and she goes, Oh, I've been doing this for three years. And I'm just about to create a board of directors. I want trustees for Eventwell, so we can get the word out there and just make the organisation a lot leaner and really promote what we're doing. So she said, would you like to apply? So I said, okay, so I did. So I'm now head of education for Eventwell, as a non-exec director role. So it's great that with what I'm doing, I can apply it to different things. Yeah. So I'm quite busy at the moment.

Michelle:

I can imagine. It's great. We're lucky to be able to squeeze in your very busy schedule. That's so awesome.

James:

So that's within a corporate setting. So just as when you started your business, does that mean you also work with individuals?

Rachel:

Yes, I do. So, I'll do health coaching with people. I prefer to actually do a half day with people and they can come to my house, but can't do that at the moment. So it would have to be via zoom. We'll go through talking about their sleep, their stress levels, their eating habits, fitness, everything to do with their health so that they can sort of go away with a plan to implement and then they can follow up with that accountability afterwards. I also do, or I was doing healthy cooking lessons as well for half a day. I've had to put that on hold at the moment cause, well, I suppose I could do it via zoom...

Michelle:

Look at all this lovely food that I've made that I'm going to eat because you're not here.

Rachel:

Does it taste good? I can't tell! Cooking by zoom, actually I'll work on that one. And also individuals can join my hub as well. So it's like really, really low cost. So it's £5 per month. So it's like nothing really, it's just really to help people improve or inspire them to get healthy really and change their lives like I have.

Michelle:

Yeah. That's fantastic. You're very inspirational Rachel. I love it.

Rachel:

I try to be.

Michelle:

So, we're going to ask you some, you might think random questions because they are fairly random, called the quick fire round. So, we found some questions and James is going to ask you the first one, if that's okay with you?

Rachel:

Okay.

James:

Question number one. So you are appointed health minister for the government. What is your first mission in office?

Rachel:

Ooh, good question. Well, I feel that I'd actually probably do a better job than they're doing at the moment. I did have a little bit of a thing with government back in 2013. It was a chance meeting with an MP that then rolled on to me going to the conservative party conference in Manchester in 2013, which is very bizarre. And I was just basically having a go at MPs about their own health and wellness and how can they inspire a nation to get fit and healthy if they're not fit and healthy themselves. Actually I have got a bit of a rude story. So I did ask this one MP, I think I might name, a guy called Andrew Bridgen. I think he's MP somewhere in Lincolnshire, or Leicestershire. And so I was asking him about his fitness and how often he kept fit and what kind of activities he did. And he actually did ask me whether sex counted. And I said, well, it depends how long you can keep it up for! All his middle lackeys around him going huuuuh!

Michelle:

He started it and open the door to that question!

Rachel:

So, as well as getting the nation fit, I want to get MPs fit because they need to set an example. But it's quite good that Boris has recognised his own health failings in the past few weeks since he nearly died from coronavirus. Because he was in the at-risk category because he's quite overweight. So it's going to be interesting to see what he does, but I think with me, yeah, definitely tackling obesity, getting people fitter, a lot of people don't do their five times 30 minutes of exercise per week, making sure people sleep properly as well. So sleep is one of my big, big subjects, so I'm very passionate about sleep and actually it's the thing that I speak about most going into organisations. Cause everybody wants to know about sleep and they're very interested in it. So yeah, I actually think number one will be sleep, then healthy diet and fitness. And of course looking after mental health. But actually with people sleeping well and eating healthily and keeping fit, that really does help with mental health.

James:

Yeah. Good.

Michelle:

I think last time we talked, you told us to have a look at what kind of sleepers we are. So I think I'm a dolphin!

Rachel:

Oh, that's right. Yes. I can't remember the name of the book. I've got it somewhere on my bookshelf. I can see it but I can't read it. Animals that you are associated with, with the way you sleep.

Michelle:

It's funny. So question number two is what is something common today that humans will be embarrassed about doing in 50 years?

Rachel:

[Laughter]

Michelle:

Going to McDonald's?

Rachel:

Yeah. Well I guess, the whole thing about smoking has changed, hasn't it? People are embarrassed to smoke, you know, bear in mind I used to smoke between 20 to 40 cigarettes a day and you kind of look at smokers now as though they're sort of lepers or people who vape and leave that sort of vapie trail of aroma behind them. I followed someone today, it just smells like weird fruits of the forest. I was like, how can you inhale that? But yeah, maybe it's going into fast food joints that people understand that they're not sustainable. They're not very eco-friendly even though they're being designed in a way to make it look as though they're healthy and they're organic and they're very eco friendly and sustainable, but no. And also these sort of fast food joints are trying to jump on the vegan bandwagon by promoting vegan burgers, which aren't very healthy. They're not what I'd call healthy vegan food. So they're just trying to appeal to the masses. What else are we going to be embarrassed about? Good question. I can't think of that one. So I think fast food, maybe.

James:

So question number three. What is the most recent life lesson you have learned?

Rachel:

Ooh, another good question. I think during the whole coronavirus pandemic is to remain optimistic and realistic and throughout I'm trying to sort of think about what the new normal will look like, our new reality. So as things have locked down, you know, it's like, well, okay, how are we going to cope with our health and things like that? And how are we going to stay safe? And then you're looking at sort of how the workplace will change. And they're trying to open up the economy again, but people aren't going to go back to work. They're not even going to want to go in an office and travel on public transport. So I'm quite happy still working from home and doing things remotely. So I think for me, it's kind of being a forward thinker all the time. And so helping my partner in his business or go, well, you need to think about this or you need to think about that and how's this going to pan out if we do such and such or that doesn't happen?

 

So yeah, it's all about kind of being very optimistic, forward thinking, because at the moment there's this underlying thing with the news going, we're going to have the worst recession for 300 years. Why are they doing that? And soon we'll have like a logo for the new recession or what they decide to call it. There'll be a name for it, it'll have a brand and this just really irritates me because then that's where people lose confidence in the money markets. And yes, we have a recession, but actually it's still possible to have a thriving industry in times of recession. So I think it's that whole thing about remaining optimistic, and realistic, but not kind of going into that downward spiral of we're all doomed. And I think good things also coming out of this that we've had time to kind of almost set the reset, push the reset button and re-evaluate our lives and what we do.

So from that point of view, I think it's a really great thing. And some people said it's like mother nature's way of saying she's had enough. We were going on about the problem with pollution and animals becoming extinct and things like that. And it's almost like nature's had a chance to just breathe new life into itself again and heal. I know sounds a bit woo woo, but it's been great. And I've learned to love the silence, the quietness, I live in a small town and there's always been loads of traffic around and it's just been so quiet and even though I love air travel, there aren't many planes around.

Michelle:

Yeah. We live next to Newcastle airport. We normally see them landing or taking off depending which way they go. And it's weird. It's like quite, if there's a plane now it's like, Oh, there's a plane, but they're all military planes or commercial. They're not like passenger planes.

Rachel:

No, I get my little flight radar, 24 app out. And I go, ooh where's that plane from.

Michelle:

Where are you going?

Rachel:

We're not far from Heathrow but not far from Luton either. So we are right underneath all the flight paths. But yeah, so I've learned I've been quite happy during this pandemic because I've been very busy, but I've sort of learned a lot about myself. And I think the optimism is the thing that's really kept me going through it.

Michelle:

Awesome. That's great. Thank you very much for the answer. That's a good one. So if we could get a time machine organised and send you back to have a glass of Chardonnay with your 18 year old self, what advice would you give to her?

Rachel:

Don't waste 20 years being miserable with yourself and just JFDI. Just get fit and healthy. Why did I have a block for 30....Up until the age of 37? It is just totally ridiculous. I wish that I'd been healthier from that age onwards because it would've saved me a lot of grief, a lot of angst, a lot of sort of self-hatred of myself. I'm feeling very unconfident as well. So I just feel in the last, gosh, I can't believe it's like 20 years since I had that epiphany moment. I've just felt so much more at peace with myself, happier, happy with my shape and just enjoying life a lot more. So, yeah, it's just, get fit and healthy. Just do it. That's what I'd say to my 18 year old self and smack her around the head.

Michelle:

Just think of the cigarette money you've put in, that you could save.

Rachel:

I know, it's ridiculous. Bottles of Chardonnay and cigarettes? Yeah.

Michelle:

Awesome.

James:

So, if that's of interest to our listeners, what's the best way to find you?

Rachel:

Okay. So my website is www.wakeupwithzest.com. You can find me on LinkedIn. It's Rachel McGuinness, Twitter and Instagram @wakeupwithzest. I've got a Facebook page, but I don't really do much with it so if you like the Facebook page you won't get much from me. So the best way to link up with me is via LinkedIn or follow me on Instagram. I am a bit sporadic with my posting, but it depends what I'm doing. But the website is the best.

Michelle:

Thank you ever so much for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to talk to us today.

Rachel:

You're welcome.

Michelle:

It's been wonderful.

James:

Thank you very much.